Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 1)

New York leads 1-0

Game 1: Tuesday, January 17th
Islanders2Final
OT
Blackhawks1

Islanders 2

(20-23-2, 42 pts)

Blackhawks 1

(15-25-6, 36 pts)

8:30 PM ET, January 17, 2006

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 OT T
NYI 0 1 0 12
CHI 0 1 0 01

R. DiPietro (Islanders - G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: .971

A. Munro (Blackhawks - G): Saves: 21, Save Pct.: .913

O. Kvasha (Islanders - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Kvasha's goal, DiPietro's 34 saves buoy Islanders 

CHICAGO (AP) -- Oleg Kvasha got the break he needed in overtime to lift the New York Islanders past the Chicago Blackhawks.

Kvasha scored off a rebound at 3:02 of the extra period, and Rick DiPietro made 34 saves in the Islanders' 2-1 victory Tuesday night.

"When the puck bounced in there, I skated into it and I held my stick so tight," Kvasha said. "It was, like, incredible. I think I started it shaking because I couldn't see the puck. When I saw it cross the line, it was a relief."

Kvasha beat Adam Munro from the edge of the crease after the Chicago rookie goalie stopped Jason Blake's shot.

"I made the first save and tried to get it in the corner and obviously it didn't go far enough," Munro said. "It was kind of wobbling in the air. I went to go whack at it and just missed it and the other guy knocked it out of the air. I could have gotten it just as easily as he could have. The break went his way this time."

Alexei Yashin also scored for New York, coming off an 8-1 home to loss to Vancouver on Saturday night when DiPietro was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 13 shots. The Islanders are 3-9-0 in their last 12 games and 2-1 since Brad Shaw took over as interim coach following Steve Stirling's firing.

"This is grind-it-out hockey and we don't have any room for mistakes," DiPietro said. "Tonight was good stepping stone."

Shaw praised the U.S. Olympic goalie.

"I thought in the last 30 minutes he was the best player on the ice," Shaw said. "I thought his rebound control was great. I thought his moving of the puck was outstanding. He made probably seven or eight key saves for us down in the last 25-30 minutes."

Jim Vandermeer scored for the Blackhawks, 2-11-2 in their last 15 games and 1-8-2 in their last 11 at home.

Munro, making his third straight start, made 21 saves. Top goalie Nikolai Khabibulin missed his 10th straight game because of a groin pull, but has resumed taking shots in practice.

When Khabibulin returns, Munro figures to replace Craig Anderson as the backup.

"He basically earned it," Chicago coach Trent Yawney said. "Three goalies is a crowd. So something has to be done. I think that he took advantage of his opportunity and it's not like the other guy didn't get an opportunity."

Yashin opened the scoring on a power play at 8:57 of the second, beating Munro high on the glove side with a screened shot from just inside the left point. The goal was Yashin's 16th of the season and second in his last 10 games.

DiPietro made a point-blank pad save on Mark Bell with 5:30 left in the second period. Bell was left open at the low edge of the right circle and fired after taking a pass from Martin Lapointe.

Vandermeer scored a power-play goal with 3 minutes left in the second.

Taking advantage of a turnover at center ice and an ill-timed New York personnel change, Vandermeer had room to skate down the left wing. He faked DiPietro to the ice and scored from 15 feet.

With 5:30 left in the third, Bell fired a shot wide when he was uncovered at the edge of the crease.

"I thought we were really coming along there and had quite a few chances to score," Munro said. "DiPietro played a real outstanding game from my point of view and kept them in there long enough that the overtime goal was just the break they needed."

The Islanders closed the third period on a power play after Bell was called for delay of game with 1:28 left.

Game notes


The Blackhawks finished play against the Eastern Conference at 4-2-4. ... Chicago D Adrian Aucoin missed the game because of a groin strain, F Curtis Brown sat out with a knee strain, and F Patrick Sharp was scratched because of the flu. ... Islanders F Mattias Weinhandl, D Chris Campoli and D John Erskine were healthy scratches. ... New York D Brad Lukowich returned after missing three games because of strained ribs.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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